Among the most significant and intimate relationships we all share, parents are defined here as biological or adoptive, but not “spiritual” or metaphorical. This subject has rarely been the theme of an art exhibition. Many artists have depicted their mothers and fathers as a kind of search for their own identity or as a tribute to their nurturers and first patrons. We often have conflicted relationships with our parents and this complexity can motivate the work. Interpretations of this subject run the gamut from highly charged narratives to straightforward realism, with humor and affection along the way. All of the works are extremely personal expressions of the artist’s relationship.
The exhibition offers works by a cross-section of younger and older artists of diverse backgrounds, including works by Arnold Mesches (d. 2016) and Polly Thayer (d. 2006). The exhibition contextualizes these contemporary works with a visual timeline of historic artists’ portraits of their parents, including such masters as Dürer, Rembrandt,
Whistler, Cassatt, Picasso, Motley, Neel, Freud and Hockney. Additional historic images submitted by participating artists will be posted over the course of the exhibition.